‘THIS IS NOT A REFLECTION OF WHO WE ARE’: VZ County Humane Society reacts to president’s arrest for pet theft


VAN ZANDT COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Van Zandt County Humane Society said in a statement posted on Facebook that it is “saddened” by news that its president, Cynthia Durham, was arrested Wednesday and charged with theft of property.

Durham is accused of participating in a process known as “pet flipping,” or stealing pets to be transported elsewhere for resale as a “rescue.”

According to Van Zandt County Precinct 2 Constable Jesse Ison, Durham is accused of stealing two blue heeler/hound dogs from a family while that family was out of town.

Durham allegedly moved the dogs to Wisconsin, where they were being prepared for adoption as “rescues.”

The Van Zandt County Humane Society said in its statement that it had no knowledge of Durham’s actions.

“We are saddened by events that have transpired and can assure you this is not a reflection of who we are, or what we do here at the Van Zandt County Humane Society.”

“Cynthia Durham is the current president of our organization, on paper, and while she has been a vital part of our group in the past, we did not have any prior knowledge or involvement in this incident. Our board will be meeting ASAP to appoint a new president.”

Van Zandt County Humane Society

The organization said it is “not now nor ever been in the business of ‘flipping pets.'”

“We never receive money for dogs from rescues except in the case of reimbursement for vet bills,” the Society said in the statement. “Our mission is to help as many of these animals as we can, as well as educating people on the importance of spaying and neutering your pets.”

The Society said it charges $100 for adoptions, “which most often does not cover all of the cost of vetting.”

The organization is “completely donation and fundraiser funded with no help from any national organizations. All monies go directly to the care and vetting of the animals, and no salaries are paid, as we are an all volunteer organization,” the Society said in its statement.

“We are saddened by the events that have transpired, and can assure you it is our collective prayer that this will in no way affect the willingness of people to participate and donate to our organization. We currently have 53 animals in our system in various stages of vetting, rescue and adoption with requests for help coming in almost daily.”

Van Zandt County Humane Society

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